YSPH Committee on Academic and Professional Integrity (CAPI)

Guiding Principles

Honesty, professional integrity, and a commitment to the health of the public provide strong foundations for our educational mission at the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH). We create a community of scholarship through the free and lively exchange of ideas in the classrooms, laboratories, clinics, organizations, and neighborhoods in which we serve. We promote scientific rigor, courage, and compassion to guide us in the work we do—designed to prevent disease and promote health.

The YSPH Code of Academic and Professional Integrity is intended to foster our School’s exceptional learning environment and to support conduct that will distinguish our faculty, students, and staff in our lives at YSPH, the university, New Haven, and the broader scientific, policy, and public health communities in which we live and work.

Academic Integrity

The Yale School of Public Health community, including faculty, students, and staff, supports the highest standards of academic integrity. All academic work—completed individually or in small groups, in the classroom, laboratory, or community—affords an unparalleled opportunity to put forth new and innovative ideas to promote the science and practice of public health.

Faculty will provide clear guidelines for students on the parameters of all course work, including homework assignments, papers, and examinations. Students must contact the professor for clarification if there is any question about these guidelines. Students must complete their work independently or in small groups, as per instruction, always striving to put forth their own best ideas to accomplish their goals. Students are strongly encouraged to build on a strong tradition of public health by utilizing the many excellent print and online resources available to stimulate thinking and promote innovation. In so doing, students must also consult guidelines to insure proper citation of published work.

Students are expected to follow course-specific instructions as communicated in the syllabus and other verbal or written instructions from the faculty. This includes the use of outside sources such as written materials, media, internet, and generative artificial intelligence systems (i.e., chatbots) in your coursework. If expectations are not explicitly stated, it is the responsibility of the student to seek clarification prior to using outside sources. 

Community Standards and Freedom of Expression

YSPH is an academic community dedicated to the advancement of learning. Its members freely associate themselves with the university and in doing so affirm their commitment to cultivating an environment of tolerance and respect for all members of the community. They pledge to help sustain the intellectual integrity of the university and to uphold its standards of honesty, free expression, and inquiry. They are expected to abide by the regulations of the university, including these Personal Conduct and Academic Integrity Standards. Because students are expected to show good judgment and use common sense at all times, not all kinds of misconduct or behavioral standards are codified here. Students are also expected to obey local, state, and federal laws, and violations of these may be cause for discipline by YSPH. Students are required to report misdemeanor and felony charges to their associate dean.

Freedom of Expression

YSPH is committed to the protection of free inquiry and expression in the classroom and throughout the school community. In this, YSPH reflects the university’s commitment to and policy on freedom of expression as eloquently stated in the Woodward Report (Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression at Yale, 1974), which states, in part:

The primary function of a university is to discover and disseminate knowledge by means of research and teaching. To fulfill this function a free interchange of ideas is necessary not only within its walls but with the world beyond as well. It follows that the university must do everything possible to ensure within it the fullest degree of intellectual freedom. The history of intellectual growth and discovery clearly demonstrates the need for unfettered freedom, the right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable. To curtail free expression strikes twice at intellectual freedom, for whoever deprives another of the right to state unpopular views necessarily also deprives others of the right to listen to those views.

We take a chance, as the First Amendment takes a chance, when we commit ourselves to the idea that the results of free expression are to the general benefit in the long run, however unpleasant they may appear at the time. The validity of such a belief cannot be demonstrated conclusively. It is a belief of recent historical development, even within universities, one embodied in American constitutional doctrine but not widely shared outside the academic world, and denied in theory and in practice by much of the world most of the time.

Because few other institutions in our society have the same central function, few assign such high priority to freedom of expression. Few are expected to. Because no other kind of institution combines the discovery and dissemination of basic knowledge with teaching, none confronts quite the same problems as a university.

For if a university is a place for knowledge, it is also a special kind of small society. Yet it is not primarily a fellowship, a club, a circle of friends, a replica of the civil society outside it. Without sacrificing its central purpose, it cannot make its primary and dominant value the fostering of friendship, solidarity, harmony, civility, or mutual respect. To be sure, these are important values; other institutions may properly assign them the highest, and not merely a subordinate, priority; and a good university will seek and may in some significant measure attain these ends. But it will never let these values, important as they are, override its central purpose. We value freedom of expression precisely because it provides a forum for the new, the provocative, the disturbing, and the unorthodox. Free speech is a barrier to the tyranny of authoritarian or even majority opinion as to the rightness or wrongness of particular doctrines or thoughts.

If the priority assigned to free expression by the nature of a university is to be maintained in practice, clearly the responsibility for maintaining that priority rests with its members. By voluntarily taking up membership in a university and thereby asserting a claim to its rights and privileges, members also acknowledge the existence of certain obligations upon themselves and their fellows. Above all, every member of the university has an obligation to permit free expression in the university. No member has a right to prevent such expression. Every official of the university, moreover, has a special obligation to foster free expression and to ensure that it is not obstructed.

The strength of these obligations, and the willingness to respect and comply with them, probably depend less on the expectation of punishment for violation than they do on the presence of a widely shared belief in the primacy of free expression. Nonetheless, we believe that the positive obligation to protect and respect free expression shared by all members of the university should be enforced by appropriate formal sanctions, because obstruction of such expression threatens the central function of the university. We further believe that such sanctions should be made explicit, so that potential violators will be aware of the consequences of their intended acts.

In addition to the university’s primary obligation to protect free expression there are also ethical responsibilities assumed by each member of the university community, along with the right to enjoy free expression. Though these are much more difficult to state clearly, they are of great importance. If freedom of expression is to serve its purpose and thus the purpose of the university, it should seek to enhance understanding. Shock, hurt, and anger are not consequences to be weighed lightly. No member of the community with a decent respect for others should use, or encourage others to use, slurs and epithets intended to discredit another’s race, ethnic group, religion, or sex. It may sometimes be necessary in a university for civility and mutual respect to be superseded by the need to guarantee free expression. The values superseded are nevertheless important, and every member of the university community should consider them in exercising the fundamental right to free expression.

We have considered the opposing argument that behavior which violates these social and ethical considerations should be made subject to formal sanctions, and the argument that such behavior entitles others to prevent speech they might regard as offensive. Our conviction that the central purpose of the university is to foster the free access of knowledge compels us to reject both of these arguments. They assert a right to prevent free expression. They rest upon the assumption that speech can be suppressed by anyone who deems it false or offensive. They deny what Justice Holmes termed “freedom for the thought that we hate.” They make the majority, or any willful minority, the arbiters of truth for all. If expression may be prevented, censored, or punished, because of its content or because of the motives attributed to those who promote it, then it is no longer free. It will be subordinated to other values that we believe to be of lower priority in a university.

The conclusions we draw, then, are these: even when some members of the university community fail to meet their social and ethical responsibilities, the paramount obligation of the university is to protect their right to free expression. This obligation can and should be enforced by appropriate formal sanctions. If the university’s overriding commitment to free expression is to be sustained, secondary social and ethical responsibilities must be left to the informal processes of suasion, example, and argument.

For more information, please visit http://studentlife.yale.edu/guidance-regarding-free-expression-and-peaceable-assembly-students-yale.

Code of Academic and Professional Integrity

Honor Code

The Honor Code explicates the highest ethical standards to which we must hold ourselves, our peers, and our colleagues. Honesty, respect, and trust are hallmarks of the science and practice of public health. They must be nurtured at all times in our classrooms and in our work beyond the classroom. Upon arrival at YSPH, all students will sign an Honor Code that states:

By enrolling in the Yale M.P.H. program, I am accepting the responsibility to promote and uphold the Code of Academic and Professional Integrity.

I understand that the work I submit must represent my own efforts; that I will conduct myself with dignity, integrity, and honesty in my studies; that I will uphold the directions of my faculty and complete all my work in the spirit it was assigned. I understand I must honestly represent my credentials, abilities, and situation as I further my career as a public health professional.

I agree to be held accountable for maintaining the atmosphere of honesty and professionalism at Yale University and within the greater academic community. In the spirit of my professional development—where I should not tolerate misconduct in my professional setting—I also agree to contact the appropriate faculty member, or the associate dean for student affairs, if I witness a violation of this Code of Academic and Professional Integrity by any of my peers.

Upon completion of all written assignments and examinations, students will sign the following statement:

I have not given, received, or witnessed inappropriate exchange of information on this assignment, and I certify that this is my own original work. I have adhered to all relevant policies stated by my course instructor in the syllabus, written instructions or verbally in class.

Behaviors Subject to Disciplinary Action

Concerns regarding YSPH student conduct that may violate university regulations, academic or nonacademic, shall initially be referred to the committee chair or chair’s designee. A report should be made in writing and should detail the conduct in question and provide all available and relevant evidence.

Students at YSPH freely associate themselves with the university, and in doing so affirm their commitment to the university’s principles of honesty and academic integrity. They are expected to abide by all university regulations, as well as local, state, and federal laws. The forms of behavior subject to disciplinary action include, but are not limited to:

  1. Cheating and Plagiarism Plagiarism and cheating are understood to include all forms of misrepresentation in academic and professional work, such as:
    1. Failure to acknowledge ideas and phrases used in an essay or assignment that were gained from another writer, the internet, or the use of generative artificial intelligence systems. Any direct quotation must be specifically attributed, other reliance on a reference must also be acknowledged, and the use of generative AI systems must be cited. Inserting artificial intelligence-generated text into an assignment without proper attribution or using AI tools in a manner that was not authorized by your instructor is a breach of academic integrity.
    2. Cheating on examinations, problem sets, and any other form of assignment or test.
    3. Falsification and/or fabrication of data, or misrepresentation in any report on research or other work.
    4. Submission of the same paper in more than one course or as a thesis, unless explicit permission from the instructors has been obtained in advance.
    5. Use of prepared notes in an examination or communicating with another person during an examination (including take-home examinations) unless specifically authorized by the instructor.
    6. Use of electronic files belonging to another person or electronically sharing files when this is specifically prohibited by the instructor.
  2. Misrepresentation or Lying
    1. Misrepresentation or lying in applications for admission or financial aid.
    2. Misrepresentation or lying during a formal or informal inquiry by school or university officials. If the Committee on Academic and Professional Integrity has found that the student purposefully misled the committee during its deliberations, the committee may consider that factor as grounds for imposing a more severe penalty.
  3. Assault, Coercion, Harassment Assault on, or coercion, harassment, or intimidation of any member of the university community for any reason, including harassment based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race color, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, disability, status as a disabled veteran, veteran of the Vietnam era or other covered veteran, or membership in any other protected classes as set forth in Connecticut and federal law, or use of a teaching position to harass or intimidate another student.
  4. Sexual Misconduct Any sexual activity for which positive, unambiguous, and voluntary consent has not been given in advance; any sexual activity with someone who is incapable of giving valid consent because, for example, that individual is sleeping or otherwise incapacitated due to alcohol or drugs; any act of sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, or stalking. Sexual misconduct includes nonphysical actions such as digital media stalking, cyberbullying, and nonconsensual recording of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment consists of nonconsensual sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. For a fuller description of sexual misconduct, sexual consent, and sexual harassment see the Title IX website (https://titleix.yale.edu). Sexual misconduct violations shall be addressed by the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct (UWC) and governed by its procedures.
  5. Violation of Yale University Rules or Functions
    1. Disruption of a legitimate function or activity of the university community, including disruption of classes and meetings, blocking entrances and exits to university buildings, unauthorized occupation of any space on the Yale campus, or preventing the free expression or dissemination of ideas.
    2. Unauthorized or fraudulent use of university services, equipment, or facilities, such as computer equipment, telephones, or letterhead.
    3. Misuse, alteration, or fabrication of university credentials or documents, such as an identification card, academic transcript, or grade list.
    4. Violation of university rules for using information technology services and facilities, including computers, the university network, and electronic mail.
    5. Violation of university rules regarding intellectual property.
    6. Misuse or unauthorized removal of materials in university libraries or laboratories.
    7. Trespassing on university property to which access is prohibited.
    8. Theft, misuse of funds, or willful damage to university property.
    9. Refusal to comply with the direction of university police officers or other university officials, including members of faculty, acting in the performance of their duties.
    10. Interference with the proper operation of safety or security devices, including fire alarms, electronic gates, or sprinkler systems.
    11. Possession or use of explosives or weapons on university property.
  6. Unlawful Conduct Any behavior prohibited by law may be subject to criminal prosecution as well as to a charge by the Committee on Academic and Professional Integrity.
    1. Illegal behaviors directed against the university or the university community.
    2. Unlawful manufacture, possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs or alcohol on university property or as part of any university activity.

Disciplinary Policies and Procedures

Committee Composition and Charge

The Committee on Academic and Professional Integrity considers instances of academic infractions and other serious violations by YSPH students against the school and university communities. The committee is appointed by the dean and consists of seven individuals: three YSPH faculty members, the director of academic affairs, and one student from each M.P.H. class. The committee will be selected from a pool that includes a faculty member from each YSPH department, the director of academic affairs, and three students from each M.P.H. class. The dean will designate one of the faculty members as the committee chair. The committee chair must hold the rank of associate with tenure or full professor and will be a non-voting member. The senior administrative assistant is a note-taking committee member and is also a non-voting committee member. For a given hearing, the chair will ensure a quorum of seven individuals including at least two faculty and two students. When members of the committee have become familiar with the details of a specific complaint, the chair will determine if any members shall be excused because of a conflict of interest.


The committee will collect the facts relevant to each complaint under consideration, make judgments on whether an infraction or violation has been committed, and determine a penalty where appropriate. Although deviations may be taken by the chair when appropriate to a given case, the following steps are customary:

  1. The work of the committee normally begins when a member of the university community brings a possible violation or infraction to the attention of the committee chair or the director of academic affairs. The chair then requests a written statement and copies of any other materials relevant to the complaint. Based on these materials the chair, in consultation with the director of academic affairs, will decide whether the offense, if the charge is true, is of sufficient severity to bring to the attention of the committee. If so, the director of academic affairs will notify the student who is the subject of the complaint in writing and provide the student with a list of the committee members and a copy of these procedures. The student may: (a) appear before the committee, (b) examine all written materials being provided to the committee, (c) ask for the recusal of any member of the committee for cause (approval to be decided by the chair), and (d) be accompanied by a faculty or staff member of the YSPH community who will act as an adviser. In the YSPH Disciplinary Process the student’s adviser is not an advocate, but rather a source of support to the student. The adviser may help the student prepare for the meeting of the committee and may accompany the student to the meeting. During the meeting, the adviser may quietly suggest questions or issues for the student to raise with the committee, but the adviser does not participate directly in the meeting. An adviser is optional. If so desired, a student may select a faculty or staff member of the YSPH community and ask that individual to act as an adviser; an adviser is not appointed by the committee.
  2. The student must respond in writing to the charge of misconduct within three calendar days of receiving notification from the director of academic affairs. The written response should be a statement of reasonable length that comments on the facts of the allegations of misconduct, the student’s involvement in it, and any other matters that the student deems relevant. This written statement is considered part of the formal proceedings of the committee.
  3. The committee will endeavor to conduct its business in such a way as to protect the privacy and personal integrity of all individuals who are involved with the case. In addition, the committee will seek to make its judgments as promptly as is consistent with the need to establish the facts of the case and to come to judgments based on those facts.
  4. The hearing will normally take place in a single continuous session, but the chair may call additional sessions if appropriate. The chair will open the meeting by reviewing the charges against the student and the procedures to be followed. The student may make a brief opening statement. The committee will then direct questions to the student as to the facts of the case, and it is the student’s duty to respond truthfully. After responding to the committee’s questions, the student may make a brief closing statement.
  5. The chair may call additional witnesses as appropriate, including the individual(s) who reported the possible violation. The student may ask the committee to call witnesses who can present relevant information about the facts of the case.
  6. All committee deliberations will be conducted without the presence of the student or any other person who is not a member of the committee. The committee will consider only evidence that has been presented to it at the hearing. If the committee concludes that an infraction or violation has occurred, it will impose an appropriate penalty. The committee’s decision on the penalty will be by majority vote, except that any recommendation to suspend or expel a student must be by a two-thirds vote of the committee. Penalties will be set based on the severity of the infraction and not influenced by the student’s personal situation. Any serious infraction of the Code of Academic and Professional Integrity may be grounds for dismissal.
  7. At the conclusion of its hearing and deliberations, the committee will prepare a report that describes the charge of misconduct, summarizes the hearing, presents the factual findings, and outlines the committee’s conclusions, including the sanction.
  8. The committee will inform the student in writing of the result of the hearing and any penalty as soon as possible. The committee’s finding of an infraction or violation and the imposed sanction are final and subject to the appeal process outlined below.
  9. All proceedings of the Committee on Academic and Professional Integrity are confidential. Proceedings and the final determination will be shared only with relevant personnel on a need-to-know basis. Students found in violation of the Honor Code or the Code of Academic and Professional Integrity will not be permitted to serve as Teaching Fellows.

Appeal Process

Disciplinary decisions made by the committee are final. However, students may request review of the decisions as described in these procedures. The decision of the committee will remain in effect unless and until changed by the dean of Public Health. A student upon whom a disciplinary penalty has been imposed by the committee may appeal the decision to the dean of Public Health, or the dean’s designee, on the following two grounds: (1) that the committee made procedural errors in its deliberations or (2) that substantial new information is available that was not previously available to the committee. A written notice of appeal must be submitted to the dean of Public Health, or the dean’s designee, within five calendar days after the decision of the committee has been issued. The dean, or the dean’s designee, will have the discretion to decide how to handle the appeal including whether to send the decision back to the committee for reconsideration.


The following penalties are among those that may be imposed by the committee. Any violation of the Honor Code or the Code of Academic and Professional Integrity will result in a penalty, up to and including expulsion.

Reprimand A written statement of censure will remain in the student’s file until the student graduates or withdraws.

Restriction The student will be denied the use of certain university facilities or of the right to participate in certain activities or to exercise certain privileges.

Disciplinary Probation The student is in official jeopardy. Disciplinary probation will be recorded on the student’s transcript. The commission of a second offense while on probation will normally result in suspension or expulsion. 

Suspension The student will be separated from the university for a stated period of time. A suspended student forfeits all privileges of enrollment, including residence, attendance at classes, participation in organized extracurricular activities, and use of university facilities. This penalty will be recorded on the student’s transcript.

Expulsion Permanent separation from the university. This penalty will be recorded on the student’s transcript. An expelled student forfeits all privileges of enrollment, including residence, attendance at classes, participation in organized extracurricular activities, and use of university facilities. This penalty will be recorded on the student’s transcript.

Failure of Course or Assessment for Academic Violations The committee may recommend that the student’s actions warrant a failure of the course or assessment in question.

All cases referred to the Committee on Academic and Professional Integrity will be addressed and a decision wii be made by the committee, regardless of whether the student voluntarily withdraws from the Yale School of Public Health prior to resolution. In such case, it will be noted on the student’s transcript that the student withdrew with disciplinary charges pending. Students at the Yale School of Public Health on an F1 Student Visa who are suspended or expelled will be subject to the requirements of the F1 Student Visa program administered by the U.S. Government. Such students should consult with the Yale Office of International Students and Scholars to understand the current requirements.

We set forth this Yale School of Public Health Code of Academic and Professional Integrity to provide guidance and support for professional standards expected from all members of our community. Violations of this code will be taken very seriously, and penalties will be issued to uphold these standards. More importantly, however, is the commitment by faculty, students, and staff to promote excellence in education, research, and service. By upholding academic honesty and integrity, we have a stable foundation from which to move forward in our work to enrich science and improve the health of the public.